Let’s face it, web design projects can get quite costly. There is a lot of initial work as well as the ongoing maintenance costs, and generally much more to consider than the up-front price you may have been quoted by a designer. Fortunately taking a few simple steps at the beginning of your planning process can cut down on unexpected costs and complications.
1. Find an experienced professional
Saving money should definitely not come down to who’s offering the job for the cheapest price. Sub-standard work will cost more in the future, so compare the experience level of each designer when you have a few different quotes to think about, not just the bottom line. “Designers with less understanding take longer to complete tasks and may bloat your website with over-complicated code, so you’re actually paying more in the long run in many cases,” says Daniel Carr, web designer for Luminous Design in Colchester.
2. Do your research carefully
Without having to fully get your head round the technical work your developer does for you, there are a few things to bear in mind which will help you understand their methods. For example, what kind of coding do they specialise in and is this appropriate for your site? Do they leave comments in the code so you or another developer can understand how things work? It’s always important to see examples of similar projects they have done before, which will help you imagine how your finished site will look and check the capabilities of your designer.
3. Use a sensible platform
WordPress is the most popular platform to get your website running on. It’s either free or cheap for most users’ needs, is extremely flexible and supports an infinite range of themes and plug-ins. As long as you don’t need anything highly complex and specialised, a developer will be able to make you a WordPress website for a much better price than if you were to start from scratch or use a complicated platform. It also means another developer will be able to understand your website later if you need to have a new person working on it. There are several other open source platforms that are very popular for e-commerce, but WordPress is generally suitable and cost-effective for almost any type of website.
4. Be involved with the process
To keep things running smoothly it’s important that you maintain regular contact with your designer. They have other projects to deal with and it’s not up to them to spend much time chasing you up if you aren’t interested in the work you’ve paid them to do. To make sure you don’t waste money when you’re paying for someone’s time, it’s vital to stay in touch and provide all the necessary information in a timely fashion so they’re able to get your project done on time. After all, the faster you get your website ready, the sooner you can start using it to make profits and recover those development costs.
5. Don’t use outdated systems
Using Adobe Flash on your website is very expensive and no longer relevant, but some designers might still try and sell it to you. Other animated formats are rarely any good for search engine optimisation, and some static PHP websites are also outdated and incompatible with newer features. Using a trusted CMS or up-to-date HTML code will normally give you a much more adaptable and future-proof website that’s cost effective and simple to update later. Mobile-friendly and responsive design is a great feature to look out for – anything that won’t adapt to fit different sized screen is likely to disappoint users as well as search engines, so it’s not something you should be paying for in 2016.
6. Get your own domain and hosting
Developers might offer a package including all the features you need to get started, such as web hosting and domain name registration, but they can add their own fees on top of these which you don’t need to be paying. Just setting up a simple hosting account and registering a domain name online is easy to manage on your own and should only be a fraction of your web development costs, but people without much experience can get ripped off here.